Cassie Lee FKA Peyton Royce has revealed that she was behind the idea to split with her on-screen partner as The IIconics and go their separate ways in WWE.
Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay [who was known in WWE as Billie Kay] began teaming with one another in NXT in 2016 but the pair’s relationship with each other dates back to their time in high school together in their native Australia. Together they won over the WWE Universe with their antics and hit the jackpot when they captured the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship in 2019 at WrestleMania 35.
By August 2020 however, The IIconics were no more with the duo being forced to split after losing to Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan. Many fans were perplexed at the decision to split the long-established team up especially as neither woman went on to great success in the company.
Now speaking to Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast, Cassie Lee has revealed it wasn’t a company decree but a pitch by her that led to the split:
“So I have never told anyone this and I hope Jess isn’t upset with me for saying this… but I wanted to go singles. There were just things I wanted to tick off of my bucket list as a singles competitor. I vocalized that to Jess in January last year. I didn’t do anything about it, I just told her where I was at, I didn’t try and get us broken up or something like that. It was during the PC era and Jess was out for a week, I had this random singles match, I don’t even remember who it was against.”
“Vince loved it, he said to me ‘You’re so good, what are we doing?’ I just said to him ‘Look. If it is possible in future plans, I’m not saying right now, but in the future, I would like to see what I can do on my own.’ I am so comfortable with Jess, we can conquer the world together. But I wanted to see what I can do for myself.”
On reflection, Cassie Lee feels that the decision to split the team could be the worst decision she made as ultimately it went nowhere:
“So many people were like ‘Why did they break you up? It was so stupid.’ I’m like I feel like it’s my fault because I wanted to push myself and see what I was capable of. But that might of been the worst decision that I made, because nothing ever happened.”
Both Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay were released from WWE in April 2021 as the company continued to make budget cuts. Since then the pair have started their own Off Her Chops podcast but have yet to make an announcement about their future in the wrestling ring.